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(hyphenated if used before a noun) slang Of or characterized by an earlier era or older style. Can either refer to that which is considered antiquated or old-fashioned, or else to that which is remembered fondly or nostalgically. My dad likes to play music on this old-school record player. I don't know why he doesn't just get an iPod. Whoa, a vintage Ford Mustang. That's so old school, man! Her parents are pretty old school when it comes to living together before marriage.
the school of life
The informal education one receives by learning from one's experiences, both good and bad, rather than a formal educational institution. My uncle might not have made it past grade school, but he's learned more from the school of life than most of our professors. A proper education is indeed important, but do not neglect the lessons you receive from the school of life.
obsolete A house of prostitution; a brothel. ("Vaulting" being an allusion to sexual intercourse.) To such a depth of degradation he hast fallen, that his abode hast been a vaulting school for a fortnight past.
See also: school
New and modern. The opposite of the more common descriptor "old school." Needing to post your every movement on social media is certainly a new school way of life—we had nothing like that when I was a kid. I'm intrigued by this new school method of multiplication.
rule the school
slang To be the most popular or influential in one's school. Now that we're seniors, we're going to rule the school! The popular kids always think they rule the school, but not this year!
To intentionally miss class, usually to pursue some other activity. I can't possibly sit through another lecture today, so let's just cut class and go to the beach.
To teach; to be a teacher in a school. Did you know that Karen teaches school? I thought she was stockbroker. Don't feel so bad. I've taught school for 30 years, and I still run into situations I don't know how to handle.
To share secrets, often knowing that doing so will cause problems for someone else. Here's a tip: don't tell tales about your co-workers if you want to have any friends here.
of the old school
Having views or subscribing to values or traditions from an earlier era. Typically describes one who is resistant to change or new ways of doing things. John is of the old school—he still believes in the effectiveness of corporal punishment. My grandmother is of the old school, so she would never make gravy with something out of a jar.
from the old school
Having views or subscribing to values or traditions from an earlier era. Typically describes one who is resistant to change or new ways of doing things. John is from the old school—he still believes in the effectiveness of corporal punishment. My grandmother is from the old school, so she would never make gravy with something out of a jar.
the old school tie
A bond of kinship between people who graduated from the same private school and help each other in the professional world. The old school tie is still very influential in the firm, with the majority of upper management coming from the same university.
the school of hard knocks
Lessons learned through the real and practical experiences of life (as opposed to formal education), especially those involving hardship or adversity. The problem with you is that you've been spoiled your whole life. You haven't had gone through the school of hard knocks to teach you what the world is really like!
the old school
Views, values, or traditions from an earlier or old-fashioned era. Typically describes one who is resistant to change or new ways of doing things. John is of the old school—he still believes in the effectiveness of corporal punishment. My grandmother belongs to the old school, believing everything one cooks should be prepared from scratch.
work (one's) way through (school)
To work a full- or part-time job in order to pay for one's tuition. "College," "university," etc., can be used instead of "school." Kate is working her way through college, but paying for classes as she's able to afford them. Your father and I both worked our way through university, so I don't see any reason why you can't do the same.
cut classand cut school
to skip a school class or a day of school without an excuse. As a joke, one day all the students cut their math class and went to lunch. Jane was grounded after she cut school last Friday.
from the old schooland of the old school
Fig. holding attitudes or ideas that were popular and important in the past, but which are no longer considered relevant or in line with modern trends. (See also of the old school) Grammar is not taught much now, but fortunately my son has a teacher from the old school. Aunt Jane is from the old school. She never goes out without wearing a hat and gloves.
How do you like school?
a phrase used to start a conversation with a school-age person. Bob: Well, Billy, how do you like school? Billy: I hate it. Bob: Too bad. Mary: How do you like school? Bob: It's okay. Almost everything else is better, though.
Never tell tales out of school.
Prov. Do not tell secrets; do not gossip. Fred: I just learned something really scandalous about the president of our company. Ellen: Well, I don't want to hear it. You shouldn't tell tales out of school.
school of hard knocks
Fig. the school of life's experiences, as opposed to a formal, classroom education. I didn't go to college, but I went to the school of hard knocks. I learned everything by experience.
school of thought
a particular philosophy or way of thinking about something. One school of thought holds that cats cause allergic reactions. I come from the school of thought that believes people should always be polite.
school someone in something
to train, discipline, or coach someone in something. The voice coach schooled the singer in excellent breathing techniques. We were schooled in oratory and debate. She schooled herself in patience.
See also: school
tell tales out of school
to tell secrets or spread rumors. I wish that John would keep quiet. He's telling tales out of school again. If you tell tales out of school a lot, people won't know when to believe you.
Absent oneself from a class or other, usually mandatory event, as in If he cuts one more class he'll fail the course. [Late 1700s]
school of hard knocks
The practical experience of life, including hardship and disappointments. For example, A self-made man, he never went to college but came up through the school of hard knocks. This idiom uses knock, "a blow," as a metaphor for a setback. [Mid-1800s]
Divulge secrets, as in Don't trust him; he's apt to tell tales. This expression was first recorded about 1350. A variant, tell tales out of school, first recorded in 1530, presumably alluded to schoolchildren gossiping but was soon broadened to revealing secret or private information. Both may be obsolescent.
the old school
COMMON If you say that someone is of the old school, you mean that they have traditional ideas and values and are old-fashioned. As a builder of the old school, he did not always see eye to eye with designers of new houses. She belonged to the old school, preferring the formality of surnames even with colleagues. Note: You can say that someone is an old-school type of person, especially when talking about the job that they do. At 65, he is the last of the old-school managers, a holder of traditional values in a world dominated by younger, more sophisticated men.
the old school tieBRITISH
The old school tie is the way in which men who have been to the most famous British private schools use their positions of power to help improve the careers of other men who went to the same school. Networking is a major part of male culture — whether through the old school tie, the pub, the club or the sports field. Note: You can use the old school tie before a noun. So does the old school tie network still exist?
the school of hard knocks
The school of hard knocks is that way that people learn from their experiences in life, especially from bad experiences. He graduated from the school of hard knocks as well — most of his family died in the war. All of these skills I developed in the school of hard knocks. I certainly didn't get them at university. Note: This is being contrasted with a formal academic education and the qualifications obtained by studying at a school or college. A similar phrase sometimes used is `the University of Life'.
a school of thought
COMMON A school of thought is a set of opinions that some people have, when there are other possible opinions. `There's a school of thought that says babies don't feel pain as we do,' he began carefully. The school of thought which demands something be done about obesity is based on a four-step argument.
If someone tells tales, they tell someone in authority about something bad or wrong that someone else has done. She had no right to tell tales to his mother! They try to get convicted criminals to tell tales on their mates in return for cuts in their own sentences. Note: This expression is used to show disapproval.
of the old schooltraditional or old-fashioned.
1998 Imogen de la Bere The Last Deception of Palliser Wentwood He came of the old school, in which men did not weep in front of other men.
the old school tiethe attitudes of group loyalty and traditionalism associated with wearing the tie of a particular public school. British
the school of hard knockspainful or difficult experiences that are seen to be useful in teaching someone about life.
school of thoughta particular way of thinking, especially one not followed by the speaker.
tell tales (out of school)gossip about or reveal another person's secrets, wrong-doings, or faults.
As telling tales to school authorities is a terrible offence in the eyes of schoolchildren, this expression is often used in the context of declining to supply information or gossip.
1991 Mark Tully No Full Stops in India Indira trusted me throughout her life, and just because she's dead it's not right that I should break that trust and tell tales about her.
of the ˈold schoolfollowing old methods, standards, etc: He’s one of the old school, a teacher who believes in discipline and politeness.
the ˌold school ˈtie(British English) an informal system in which upper class men educated at the same private school help each other with jobs, contracts, etc. in their adult lives: People say that the bank is run on the old school tie system.
a school of ˈthoughttheories or opinions held by particular groups of people: There are two schools of thought on this matter.
tell ˈtales (about somebody/something)(British English) tell somebody, especially somebody in authority, that another person has done something wrong: How did the boss know that I was late for work this morning? I think somebody’s been telling tales about me.
tell ˌtales out of ˈschooltalk about the private affairs of a group or an organization to people who do not belong to it: I shouldn’t tell tales out of school, but my company is in serious trouble.
old schooland old skool
mod. vintage; from an earlier time; retro. (Generally positive. As in the well-established expression from the old school.) His way of dealing with people is strictly old school.
tv. to teach someone something, usually as a demonstration of power. (As in I’ll teach you a thing or two which suggests violence.) Am I gonna have to school you in how to act?
old school tie
A social or business network of graduates of a secondary school, college, or university in which the members help each other because of their common bond. Among the sartorial details of the Harry Potter movies were the distinctive striped neckties that represented each house. The ties echoed those worn by students at real-life British boarding schools and universities and at American prep schools and colleges. Many alumni continue to sport the neckwear for the rest of their lives to show their academic heritage and to allow themselves to be recognized by fellow graduates. Small wonder, then, that this feeling of pride and sense of community makes these alumni kindly disposed to their colleagues, willing if not eager to help them find employment or membership and to gain advancement. In that sense, “tie” refers both to the cravat and to the interpersonal relationship. A similar expression, “old boy network,” comes from the British expression for a graduate of certain upper-crust boarding schools: As a graduate of Eton, James Bond was an Eton old boy.